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Issue 138

Friday, October 28, 2022

Prince William County

Dear Neighbors,

It's the last weekend in October, and with the turning of the page on Monday night starts a traditionally busy November and December. Calendars are dotted with notations for Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years.

Yet, amid all of these, work continues, including for the Board of County Supervisors. On Tuesday, November 1, at 7:30 pm, the Board is holding a Public Hearing meeting for the proposed PW Digital Gateway Amendment to the County's Comprehensive Plan. I've provided details on how to participate and watch the meeting below.

Additionally, I will be sending a Special Issue of The Wheeler Report this weekend to provide a comprehensive overview of the amendment. I encourage you to read it and find it both informative and addresses questions or concerns you may have.

Until then, I hope you enjoy this regular issue. It is full of a great variety of interesting articles about Prince William County. Particularly exciting is the announcement of our new County Executive, Christopher Shorter. You can learn more about him in the first County News article below. 

In Service,

Chair Ann Wheeler

Chair's Calendar

Award Night

Thursday, October 20, Chair Wheeler attended the Second Annual John Jenkins (issue 133) Good Scout Award Dinner hosted by the Boy Scouts of America, Prince William District. This year it honored (left to right in picture):

Michael Lubeley

Founding Attorney, Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley, & Walsh, P.C.

Hilda Barg (issue 77)

Former County Supervisor and Distinguished Community Leader 

Paul Ebert

Former Commonwealth's Attorney

The Good Scout Award is presented to members of our community who, in their daily lives, exemplify the ideals of the Boy Scouts of America as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law. Recipients are chosen for their outstanding community service as evidenced by the interest and leadership given to many organizations, as well as the respect and esteem in which they are held by their colleagues.

Festival of Lights

Friday, October 21, Chair Wheeler attended the Sikh Center of Virginia  festival in anticipation of Diwali (issue 90). Diwali, celebrated on Monday, October 24 this year, is the 'festival of lights' and many consider it the start of the new year. A religious observance, it is commemorated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists around the world. 

Anniversary Celebration

Sunday, October 23, Chair Wheeler attend the First Mount Zion Baptist Church's 155th anniversary celebration. Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie (right in picture) was a guest minister at the event. She is the new interim President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches representing 37 communions, 100,000 churches, and 3.5 million people.

First Mount Zion Baptist Church has a long and rich history. It was organized in 1867, just two years after the end of the Civil War. At that time, the church was known as Mount Zion Baptist Church. The present-day church, located in Dumfries, was completed in 2004. The congregation has over 4,300 members and provides services to communities both locally and internationally.

Disability Employment Awareness

Monday, October 24, Chair Wheeler, in support Disability Employment Awareness Month (issue 137), welcomed in her office Didlake Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, Rachel Payne, Ph.D. (left in picture), and Marketing Manager, Lakia Graham (right in picture).

 Didlake's mission is to create opportunities that enrich the lives of people with disabilities such as finding competitive employment and getting engaged with their community. Didlake collaborates with community members and local businesses. Its diverse workforce of over 1300 provide a wide variety of business services. Didlake's programs for people with disabilities includes employment and day support. 

Open House

Tuesday, October 25, Chair Wheeler's office attended Woodbridge Magisterial District Supervisor Margaret Franklin's Fall Open House. Various County departments were there to share information with residents. 

Safety Fair

Thursday, October 27, Chair Wheeler attended and spoke at the Safety Water Fair hosted by the Virginia American Water (issue 117). Held at its Prince William Operations Center in Woodbridge, the fair focused on sharing best practices, new ideas, and safety equipment demonstrations. During the event, Chair Wheeler spoke with Barry Suits (center in the top center picture), President of Virginia American Water. Neabsco Magisterial District Supervisor Victor Angry (right in the top center picture) also attended.

Virginia American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. It serves more than 19,800 customers in PWC, including 19,194 residential customers and 626 businesses, with water service. On average, those customers use 4.39 million gallons of water a day, which travels through 184.2 miles of pipes of all sizes.

The Prince William District Wastewater Operations (formerly Dale Service Corporation) serves approximately 20,000 customers, a population of about 50,000 people, in the Dale City area. The system comprises two wastewater treatment plants with a combined capacity of 9.2 million gallons per day, and approximately 170 miles of sewer main. 

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs approximately 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater services to an estimated 14 million people in 24 states. 

Ribbon Cutting

Friday, October 28, Chair Wheeler attended House of Mercy's (issue 105) ribbon cutting for the expansion of its food pantry, which now occupies all the suite spaces in its current building at 8154 Flannery Court in Manassas. Learn more about the food pantry here. Pictured below are House of Mercy's Executive Director Jessica Root (top right corner picture) and Operations Manager Von Barron (right in bottom right picture), as well as Keep Prince William Beautiful's Executive Director Rico Fleshman (left in bottom right picture). 

In addition to its food pantryHouse of Mercy provides clothing assistance, as well as provides a variety of client resources and adult education. All of the proceeds from its thrift store go to those in need. With the food pantry expansion comes increased services, but also increased costs and the need for volunteers. Learn the many ways you can support House of Mercy here

Next Meeting

Tuesday, November 1

7:30 pm

The Public Hearing on Comprehensive Plan Amendment 2021-00004PW Digital Gateway Plan, is the only item on the agenda

Additional November 1 Meeting Information

  • Members of the public, who want to speak remotely, need to register here by 5:00 pm on Monday, October 31.
  • Sign-up sheets for those wishing to speak in person will be available at 5:30 pm in the atrium. Individuals will need to sign up individually, one at a time, and cannot sign up other speakers.
  • Board Chambers will be open at 5:30 pm.
  • Given the high interest in this public hearing, the PW Police Department will manage and direct traffic entering the complex.
  • The occupancy load of Board Chambers and the atrium is 440. If the occupancy load is met, entry into the building will be restricted. Members of the public wishing to speak will be allowed to enter, make their comments to the Board, and exit the building immediately afterward.
  • Chairs for the public will be set up in the atrium; personal chairs will not be allowed to be brought into the building.

Ways to Watch the Meeting

  • Live-streamed on the PWC website.  
  • Broadcast live and PWC-TV channels, which are channel 23 for Comcast subscribers and channel 37 for Verizon subscribers.
  • Rebroadcast on PWC-TV at 9:00 am on Wednesday, Thursdays, and Friday, and 10:00 am on Saturday and Sunday.

BOCS Tuesday, October 18, Meeting Proclamations

Proclaimed November 1 Through November 20 the Official Recognition of America Recycles Day in Prince William County. Recycling is vital to preserving the life of the Prince William County Landfill, conserving our precious natural resources and landfill space. Purchasing products made of recycled material helps ensure true success of any recycling effort. Nationally, Recycles Day is celebrated on November 15. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) sponsors "I Recycle" in support of this national day that is celebrated in thousands of localities each year.

Assistant Director of PWC Department of Public Works Monica Gorman accepted the proclamation.

More About "I Recycle"

The MWCOG encourages regional participation in its "I Recycle" pledge contest with two prizes, a $300 gift card prize and a K-12 prize of a $300 gift card, as well as a $500 school environmental grant. PWC has participated in the event since 2013 and a PWC resident has won the pledge contest drawing eight of the last nine years. 

County staff and Keep Prince William Beautiful volunteers will be at Bull Run Regional Library on November 15 and Chinn Park Regional Library on November 16, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm to discuss recycling with residents and encourage taking the "I Recycle" pledge.

Proclaimed November 19 National Adoption Day. This recognition, along with similar celebrations in all 50 states around the country, will offer children the chance to live with stable and loving families and encourage other dedicated individuals to make a powerful difference in the lives of a child through adoption. The Department of Social Services provides adoption services for foster children that includes preparing the child to become a part of another family, selecting the adoptive family, and facilitating the transition into the home. It also provides adoptive home studies and recommendations to the Court for step-parent and parental placement adoptions.

PWC Department of Social Services Deputy Director Phyllis Jennings Holt (left) and Program Manager for the Adoption Unit Diane Gestrich (center) accepted the proclamation.

More than 100,000 children in the U. S. foster care system, more than 800 in the Virginia Foster Care system, and more than 20 in the PWC Foster Care system are waiting to be adopted. To help these children find permanent, nurturing families, the local courts of the 31st Judicial District will open their doors to celebrate National Adoption Day, Saturday, November 19, to finalize and recognize the adoptions of local children and join other organizations to celebrate all adoptions. 

County News

New County Executive Appointed

The BOCS has selected Christopher Shorter as our new County Executive, effective Jan. 3, 2023. Shorter brings more than 18 years of experience in local government operations, including extensive experience in strategic planning, organizational development, and financial management. As County Executive, Shorter’s leadership and management will provide a clear course of action in accomplishing the goals, initiatives, and policies set forth by the Board by overseeing and managing a talented and diverse workforce of more than 6,200 full- and part-time permanent employees.

As Baltimore City Administrator, Shorter led the development and design of the city’s Strategic Action Plan, outlining a clear vision, establishing measurable goals, and indicators of success. Other achievements include establishing a government Transformation Management Office and chairing Baltimore City’s Workforce Vaccination and Testing Operations Taskforce.

Before joining Baltimore City, Shorter served as Assistant City Manager for Health Environment, Culture, and Lifelong Learning in Austin, Texas. There he supported six city departments with a combined budget of $342.6 million and 1,926 full-time employees. Before Austin, he served in several leadership roles within the District of Columbia Government, to include the Director of Public Works, Director of Agency Operations, and Chief Operating Officer for multiple departments.

Early Voting Expands

Starting Saturday, October 29, early in-person voting in PWC for the 2022 General Election (issue 133) expands to weekends. You can find comprehensive voter information at the PWC Office of Elections', the  PWCVotes, and the Virginia Department of Elections websites. Detailed information on when and where you can cast your early in person vote is below.

Monday through Friday 

Monday, October 31, through Friday, November 4

8:30 am to 4:30 pm


Saturday, October 29, and Saturday, November 5

8:30 am to 5:00 pm

Sunday, October 30

8:30 am to 4:30 pm

PWC Credit Rating

Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P Global, have affirmed PWC’s AAA credit rating. All three ratings agencies noted the vital role played by the Principles of Sound Financial Management that has guided Board decisions since 1988. PWC is among the 49 counties, out of more than 3100 counties in the nation, to receive a AAA rating from all three agencies.

“The Board of County Supervisors’ continuous focus on making smart and strategic investments in the county, while providing the necessary services to foster a diverse and thriving community, is recognized as Prince William achieves three affirmations of its AAA credit rating. I’m pleased the rating analysts acknowledge the county’s important progress made in attracting new businesses, diversifying our tax base, and strengthening our financial condition.”

Ann Wheeler

Chair At-Large Prince William County Board of Supervisors

Trick-or-Treat Safety

While PWC does not designate an official date or times for trick-or-treating, Monday, October 31, is traditionally when Halloween is celebrated. If your family is participating, please review the PWC Police Department's Halloween Safety Tips and the Fire and Rescue's Halloween at Home Safety and on the Road.  

Free Webinar

Monday, November 14, 6:00 pm, the PWC Human Rights Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Washington Field Office are hosting a webinar on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The free, online session is open to the public. You can register to attend here

Topics of Discussion Include:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act and reasonable accommodation.
  • Employer coverage and employee eligibility.
  • Qualifying reasons for leave.
  • Amount of leave.
  • Employer rights and responsibilities.
  • Employee rights and responsibilities.
  • Military family leave provisions.

'Smash' the Spread

It's egg-laying season for spotted lanternflies (issue 125). Egg masses are laid in the fall, survive through the winter, and hatch in the spring. Females lay eggs in rows covering them with a protective substance that is white and glossy at first, turns grey/brown, and cracks over time. Sometimes it wears off completely, exposing the individual eggs. The entire mass is about 1.5 inches long and looks similar to a smudge of clay. Learn more about the spotted lanternfly in PWC here.

If You See Egg Masses

Each egg mass contains 30-50 eggs, so finding and destroying them can make a difference. If you find an egg mass, report it here and include a photo if possible. Next, the Virginia Department of Forestry advises smashing them with a stick, hand, or scraper card. Be sure to apply firm pressure as you scrape so that individual eggs burst open. 


Saturday, October 29, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, is Prescription Drug Take Back Day (issue 135) at the UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center, the UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center, and the Sentara Healthcare Lake Ridge..

County Happenings

Marine Museum Halloween Event

Saturday, October 29, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, the National Museum of the Marine Corps is hosting a Halloween Family Day. The free event is open to the public and will feature various hands-on activities as well as puppet shows. 

Upcoming Parks, Recreation & Tourism Offerings

Saturday, November 6, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Survive Together is designed for a parent and child to work together to learn basic survival training. The program includes shelter building, the basics of a compass, emergency first aid, water purification, and fire building. At the end, you can celebrate your success with smore’s! Held at Silver Lake Park in Haymarket, the participation fee is $40 is for both the parent and child. You can register here.

Tuesday, November 8, 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, Star Gazing at the Boardwalk will provide telescopes so you can enjoy some of the early winter constellations as well as a total lunar eclipse. End the evening around a warm campfire while sipping hot chocolate. Held at Neabsco Regional Park in Woodbridge, the participation fee is $12 per person. You can register here.  

County Kudos

High School Group Honored with Governor's Award

Congratulations to the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Club (FCCLA) at Patriot High School for its 2022 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Educational Volunteer Group. Each year, the students in the Patriot FCCLA Club contribute their time and talent to support the local community. By hosting events and service projects, club members seek to make a difference and leave a legacy that contributes to the common good.

Additionally, the club designed a service project called "No More Trash Bags.” The students identified a need to support children in foster care both locally and across the US. They partnered with Comfort Cases, an organization that serves youth in foster care, to organize a supply drive and donate backpacks filled with items to be distributed to youth in need.

Earlier this year, students in the Patriot FCCLA were national high school award recipients for the FCCLA’s “Stand Up” advocacy program. The award was given for the “No More Trash Bags” project. Stand Up, a national peer education program, guides members to develop, plan, carry out, and evaluate advocacy activities to improve the quality of life in their communities. The award included $1,000 to continue its philanthropic efforts.

FCCLA is a national Career and Technical Student Organization for students in Family and Consumer Sciences education in public and private school through grade 12. It offers intra-curricular resources and opportunities for students to pursue careers that support families. Today, more than 199,000 student members are active in over 4,900 chapters across 46 states, the District of Columbia, the American Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. 


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Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 482,000 residents. 
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